The Prime Minister, Charlot Salwai, says it will be up to law enforcement authorities to decide if by violators of the Ambae state of emergency are to be prosecuted for breaking the government order.
The Prime Minister made the comment as the second two week state of emergency on Ambae begins during which no one is allowed on the island except members of the Vanuatu Mobile Force to ensure the order is upheld and people’s properties are safe from looting.
He says moving from homes that people have known for the whole of their lives in such a situation as given to the population of Ambae for safety reasons due to the erupting Lombenben volcano, was extremely traumatic for all the people.
And many elderly people from Ambae he met at Pentecost and Santo were very emotional when they spoke with him but at the same time thankful to the government for considering the people’s lives as a priority.
PM Salwai says the government has the responsibility for the safety of every human life and had to take the decision to evacuate the whole population from Ambae.
“But for the few people who are said to be hiding away on the island and evading authorities and refusing to leave, it will be up to law enforcement authorities to decide if they have broken the order to leave the island and will be charged,” he added.
It was reported that about four people, known to authorities, continue to hide away on the island and refusing to adhere to the order to be evacuated out of Ambae.